Covid-19: International tourism receipts fell by 50% in 2020

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In its “economic outlook for the tourist economy”, Atout France points to a “further deterioration of indicators”, which results in particular in a loss of 28.6 billion euros in international revenue for French tourism, ie a drop of nearly 50.5% compared to last year in December 2020. Occitanie, for its part, is holding up and recording a smaller drop in tourist activity than the other regions.

After a summer season saved by domestic customers, the end of 2020 suffered a significant deterioration in tourism indicators. In his “economic outlook for the tourist economy”, the tourism development agency Atout France reveals a significant decline in international tourism receipts, which fell sharply at the end of the year (-63% in November and -50.5% in December compared to 2019).

In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic caused the loss of 28.4 billion euros in international revenue, a drop of nearly 50% compared to last year. Despite a sharp deterioration, the tourism balance (receipts from international tourists in France minus spending by French people abroad) remained positive in 2020 with 3.9 billion euros, against 10.8 billion in 2019, a loss of nearly 7 billion euros. On the Occitan side, there is no real collapse. Some departments are even recording an increase in their hotel attendance.

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The analysis of Atout France essentially reveals that the deterioration of the financial situation of tourism in 2020 is the consequence of the resumption of the pandemic in most European countries and the tightening of health rules. After the summer upturn, international tourism receipts fell again more sharply at the end of the year.

Ile de France is bogged down, the province is doing better

The Atout France note highlights different sectoral situations concerning individual-to-individual rentals. If the general trend is downward in France (-27.8% in terms of demand), the agency points to strong regional contrasts, in particular between Ile-de-France and the province. The decline in demand in December was in fact 65% for the former (-43% for the supply) and 20% for the rest of France (-11% for the supply).

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While destinations on the Atlantic coast and the English Channel have resisted the general trend better, it is now the turn of mountain destinations to suffer the fallout from the health crisis. With the closure of the ski lifts, the mountain ranges recorded a significant drop in activity. Until then, they had resisted the drop in attendance during the summer holidays.

The hotel industry is collapsing

While the tourist clientele favors individual types of accommodation that allow them to maintain greater physical distancing, the hotel industry also suffers from the absence of international and business clients.

In December, hotels posted an occupancy rate of 22% (11.4% in Paris), a decline of 35 points compared to December 2019 (-58 points in Paris). Over the whole of 2020, barely a third of hotel rooms have found a taker in mainland France. The Parisian hotel industry is particularly hard hit, with an average annual occupancy rate of 22.6% against 80% in 2019. And, nationally, turnover per room available for sale (RevPAR) is collapsing. by more than 60%.

Occitania stands out in particular thanks to “green tourism”

In Occitania, the trend is not as brutal as in the whole of the territory: “If we exclude Lourdes – which has the most negative score for overnight stays in France (-84% of hotel reservations during the summer, ndlr) – Occitania knows a drop of only 10% in hotel reservations “, specifies Jean Pinard, Managing Director of Occitanie Regional Tourism Committee. “Even if some sectors are in difficulty like Lourdes and Toulouse, departments like Lozère, Tarn and Lot recorded an increase in hotel reservations, due to the increase in demand for “green tourism”, explains Jean Pinard.

Janelle B. Smith

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